By Yuka Tachibana and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Julie Goniwich. Adapted by E.M. Candon.
This ninth volume in the series comes out just in time, as the second season of the anime is currently airing and looks like it will adapt till the end of Book 8. So if you want to continue onward, you can pick right up where it leaves off. Of course, I will warn you in advance that you’re only getting 3/4 of a book. The manga version of this title runs in Flos Comic, but it would fit right at home in LaLa, because, like many LaLa manga, it’s packed with filler to pad out the volume. Now, this is not always a bad thing. The short stories that bookend each Bookworm volume are just as important as Rozemyne’s POV, and some of the side stories are fun. But what we get instead here are scripts for audio dramas starring the voice actor for Albert… talking to himself, as I guess “situational audio drama” means that the reader invents Sei’s half of the dialogue? Not sure, but it’s not worth it.
Sei and Albert are now engaged, and this is officially announced at a ball. Much to Sei’s surprise, there’s a second engagement being announced – Elizabeth is now engaged to the second Prince, Rayne. That said, their wedding will be a year from now, as there’s just that much pre-preparation involved. Sei is content to go back to the research labs, but then the palace gets an urgent missive from Prince Kyle’s delegation in Zaidera, saying one of the most important members was deathly ill, and help was urgently needed. Everyone suspects this is a ploy, but they can’t just ignore it, so Yuri decides to go there and take one of Sei’s panaceas, the one that healed Prince Ten’yuu’s mother. The problem is… Sei wants to go too! She’s so curious! So of course Albert goes along as well. This becomes a problem when the thing they thought was a plot turns out to indeed be a ploy.
So yes, we get the return of Prince Kyle here. Much to my surprise, very little is made of his past by the main cast. He gets a side story near the end, which shows that while to Sei and company he looked calm and collected, inside he was panicking that she was going to start getting furious with him. Setting off abroad seems to have done him a world of good, and I think he agrees. As for the story itself, it’s OK, not great. It’s mostly an excuse to delay the inevitable wedding a bit longer and take a look at this world’s version of China, complete with a few recipes a la foodie manga. The actual plot won’t really get going till Book 10, so instead we get things like Yuri being a giant magical nerd and… more of Yuri being a giant magical nerd. At least Sei has more female friends besides Liz and Aira now.
This is not one of the best in the series, but as a setup for a new arc it’s OK, and it will satisfy anime-onlies wanting to see what happens next.